February 2017 Ratings: FNC is Cable’s No. 1 Network For the 8th Straight Month

By A.J. Katz 

Fox News continues to dominate not only the cable news competition, but also the basic cable competition as a whole. Not only did the FNC rank No. 1 in total prime time viewers and No. 1 in total day viewers across basic cable this month, but it has also now delivered more total viewers across total day (6 a.m. – 6 a.m.) than any other basic cable network for 8 consecutive months. That’s a network record. Fox News also posted +31 percent growth in total day viewers and +40 percent growth in the demo in February 2017 versus February 2016.

In cable news, FNC defeated CNN and MSNBC in total prime time viewers and in the prime time demo this past month. The network grew +31 percent in total viewers and +39 percent relative to Feb. 2016, and also posted more year-over-year growth among millennials than its cable news counterparts (+29 percent).

The ratings for February, 2017 (Nielsen Live + Same Day data):

  • Prime time (Mon-Sun): 2,916,000 total viewers / 592,000 A25-54
  • Total Day (Mon-Sun): 1,762,000 total viewers / 368,000 A25-54

Fox News also had 13 of the top 15 cable programs in total viewers and 7 out of the top 10 programs in the news demo. The O’Reilly Factor and the oft-combative Tucker Carlson Tonight led the charge for the network in February.  O’Reilly dominated all categories as the No.1 cable news show in total viewers (4.2 million) and No. 1 in demo viewers (770,000). His pre-Super Bowl interview with Pres. Trump, and his subsequent refusal to retract his verbal attack on the Kremlin, undoubtedly helped. Carlson ranked No. 2 in cable news averaging nearly 3.3 million viewers (+31 percent) and 695,000 demo viewers (+55 percent) in February. Carlson’s infamous “Sweden interview” caused much controversy, both here and abroad, but apparently had no negative impact on his ratings.

Fox Business defeated CNBC in total viewers during business day hours (9:30 – 5 p.m.) for the 5th consecutive month. The network also won February in total day viewers, meaning 6 a.m. – 6 a.m. (170,000 to 163,000). The 170,000 total marks FBN’s second-most-watched month ever in the daypart. Fox Business also posted substantial year-over-year growth in total day viewers (+73 percent) and in the 25-54 demo (+32 percent).